ARRA-Finalist-Badge
Best-New-Author-AusRom
Aussie-Month-badge
Archives

Archive for January, 2015

Enchanted Maze - Mark and boysIt’s been a bit of a big weekend for me. Yesterday, after having many things over the holidays upset my writing schedule, I actually managed to finish the final draft of Blood Moon – hooray! I thought I wasn’t going to get it done before the end of January. But I got some time yesterday and just went to it and now it’s all ready to send off to my Beta readers. I’m both nervous and excited to hear what they’ve got to say. So we had that to celebrate last night. But we also had something else to celebrate too.

Today is my 16th wedding anniversary. We celebrated together (just hubby and I) by going out to the movies at Gold Class last night and then today we went to the Enchanted Maze Adventure Garden with our boys. We’ve had a lovely day going on big zip lines and racing through mazes and having a ride at the tube park and just appreciating each others company in the gorgeous gardens there. It’s one of our favourite places to come with the family and today was no exception.

We had so much fun. Our feet are aching and everyone is smiling – what more can you ask for?

PrintWell, I can answer that. I came home to see that I am a guest on AusRom Today in their fabulous Aussie Month – celebrating new and established writers of romantic fiction in Australia. It’s my anniversary and I get to talk about romance and what it means to me…how serendipitous is that? I didn’t even know it was going up today.

So, I’d love you to drop on by and leave a comment or share on whatever social media tickles your fancy on this special day. And I hope everyone else’s days were as good as this one was for me.

 

I am reading a lot of posts at the moment on various loops with people setting themselves goals for the year. It’s the time of the year when people do set their goals for all sorts of things, which is all very good. I think goal setting is essential to long term success, as long as you are sensible about it. Goals are a reflection of what we dream for ourselves – and if you are a creative person, you are already half way there because it is in your nature to dream.

Dream

Dream – dreamstime.com

However, the goals you make do need to be achievable to a certain extent, otherwise you are always going to fall short and fail at whatever it is you are trying. I really love this picture I found on dreamstime.com – it sums up completely how I think your goals should be set.

This being a writer’s blog, I am of course going to talk in relation to writing goals, but this is true for goal setting for any pursuit.

Goals like: I want to finish writing a novel/I want to enter a competition/I want to submit to an editor/agent are all good, reasonable goals that are all about head down bum up and personal determination. Goals like: I want to become a NYT best selling author or become a world famous author like JK Rowlings, are perhaps a little more out of your control. They still may be achievable, and certainly could/should be on your list as one of those pie in the sky kind of goals, but they shouldn’t be what makes up your list. Goals like: I want to get a perfect score/come first in that comp or have everyone love my books, are most likely not achievable as you can’t control how people are going to feel about your writing, no matter how good you get at it (case in point, this blog from NYT bestselling author, Nora Roberts).

©Romeo1232 dreamstime images

©Romeo1232 dreamstime,com

I know when I started writing, one of my dreams was to be published and now that dream has come true after a lot of hard work and perseverence (head down, bum up). Now that dream has turned into being continuously published, having print books as well as digital and making a career of some sort out of my writing. This dream is part pie in the sky, part head down, bum up (fingers on keyboard). Pie in the sky, because some of it is beyond my direct control ( whether editors will continue to be interested in my writing and I’m writing something readers want to buy in an overcrowded market), head down bum up because I need to keep working at my writing, doing the actual writing, taking advice from my critique partners and writing groups and agent and working on that, building my author profile through social media etc etc etc. With perseverence and plenty of head down bum up, I should achieve the pie in the sky because my goal isn’t unreasonable and isn’t completely out of my control, and if traditional publishers won’t publish what I’m writing, I am educating myself about self publishing and will make certain I’m in a good position to give that the best go I can – and that is in my control. It speaks to the D.R.E.A.M picture above – I am dedicated to my writing, I am responsible about it (making sure I do it), I educate myself to improve and find out more about the industry, all of this indicates my attitude is good and I keep myself motivated to do it by being with and talking to others with similar goals and loves.

Some of the lists I’m reading about from other writers are a good mix of goals in the person’s control and a few pie in the sky ones thrown into the mix, but some are completely made out of pie in the sky – and in my experience, these last are the people who always end up giving up. I have to say I think this is because they can’t achieve any of their goals. A new writer saying they want to become a NYT bestselling author by the end of the year when they haven’t even submitted to an editor or finished their first manuscript is perhaps a goal that isn’t going to be reached. It would be like a 40 year old who had never run before saying they were going to win the 100m at the next Olympics. Very unlikely to happen unless your fairy godmother happened by and hit you with a zap of magic that gave you the legs of a champion runner half your age.

So, when goal setting, mix some sense in amongst your dreams.

Best New Author AusRomI have to admit that I’m not in the mood for setting goals for the year to come right now. The last part of last year was pretty tough on the personal front and on the professional front and it’s really left me feeling drained, however, I do feel I need to give myself something to aim for. My overall goals haven’t changed – I want to write and edit up for submission a few more books and submit them and put this on repeat until I achieve my overall goal of an established, ongoing writing career – something that does seem to be a little more achievable now than it did part way through last year because I’ve recently been nominated as Best New Author on AusRom and have also made it into the finals for Best Paranormal Romance ARRA Finalist Badgein the ARRA (Australian Romance Reading Association) awards – so people are liking what I write. Very nice to know. 🙂

So, that will continue to be my goal for this year on the writing front – at a minimum, finish writing the Dark Moon series (I’m editing up book 3, Blood Moon at the moment and have a few chapters of book 4, Ghost Moon, written) and finish writing the romantic suspense I’m working on and submit them to my agent. At a maximum I will also finish re-editing the first book in my Seer’s Blood series and resubmit that as well. Plenty to get on with, but it is achievable and working toward the ongoing goal.

How about you? What are your goals? And when setting them, remember to D.R.E.A.M big, but also dream sensible.

Once Upon a Time - en.wikipedia.orgI love musicals – what’s not to love – dramatic stories told to music, characters breaking into song to express deep thought and emotion. And I love fairy tales – the dark ones, the Disney light ones, the reworked ones (I’ve just watched seasons 1-3 of Once Upon a Time and enjoyed the episode of The Librarians where the fairy tale book was taking over a town), the HEA ones and the ones with ambiguous endings where the hero doesn’t always win. And I love, love, love when they come together.

I was always really disappointed that I never saw the live stage production of Into The Woods. I do like a Sondheim musical – Sweeney Todd is one of my favourites. I saw it when I was at high school and the songs from it have stayed with me ever since. So, when I found out that they’d made a movie of Into The Woods, I immediately knew I had to go.

Today I went to see it with my mum and my son. Apart from being a little long for him (the live production would have had an interval to give the audience a break and come back to the second half refreshed and excited for more – when you see it in the cinema, you don’t have this and for a child, I think it can make the musical a little hard), we all really enjoyed it. It doesn’t have any of the standout songs of Sweeney Todd. ‘Prologue/Into the Woods’ is catchy, as are ‘Children Listen’, ‘Giants in the Sky’ and ‘On the Steps of the Palace’, but none of them really stick in my mind like ‘The Ballad of Sweeney Todd’, ‘Johanna’, ‘Not while I’m around’, ‘Green Finch and Linnet Bird’, ‘Kiss Me’ and so on from Sweeney ToddSweeney-Photos-sweeney-todd-7009849-1578-2340 - fanpop.com. I expect people will shout me down, but when I walked out of Sweeney Todd, the music wouldn’t stop playing in my head where at the moment, I’m having trouble remembering specific tunes from Into The Wood.

However, don’t get me wrong. This lack of a memorable song for me didn’t take away from my enjoyment of it, especially because of the way they played around with the fairy stories and the consequences of the wishes that were made in the opening song. And this is why I think I am really drawn to the reworked fairy tales that are so popular at the moment – because the old stories are taken and turned on their heads so we don’t know what to expect. It makes the old, familiar stories new and exciting, taking them into the rhelm of Happy Never After, which as a romance writer, is something I can learn from.

Romance writers are supposed to always write the Happy Ever After (HEA), or at least the Happy For Now (HFN), but at the same time we have to keep the possibility of Happy Never After (HNA) in our minds – something that will most likely happen for our characters unless we do our jobs and do them well. Watching these reworked fairy tales is a way I’m finding lately that gives me inspiration to do this. I was hoping that Into the Woods would give me some inspiration today – and it definitely did.

I know they changed some of the original script – Rapunzel doesn’t die for instance (although other characters do – I’m not saying who for all those who haven’t seen it), but they do play with consequences and the fact that sometimes what we wish for doesn’t always work out the way we wanted it to – that the grass isn’t always greener. Palace life isn’t actually what Cinderella thought it would be, and marriage to a prince who has been brought up to be charming rather than sincere is certainly not the HEA she dreamed of. Into the Woods - impawards.comI loved Into the Woods because it gave all the characters their Disney HEA, but then twisted that like a Grimm tale and made the characters look beyond the final page of their stories and enter into reality (albeit with a giantess thumping around and a girl talking to and understanding birds!) And that reality was definitely not what anyone wished for or planned for or even thought they could cope with. And yet, in the end, everyone who is alive does cope and they go on – to hopefully new stories. Their simple wish at the start has been transformed into something with much deeper meaning and the two dimensionality of their lives has changed so that they are fully realised characters with more than one simple wish. They learned about the world, about themselves and their place in it and become happier within themselves as a result – which allows them to open themselves to a new, truer story.

As a writer, this is the golden egg/golden goose/golden harp triumvirate – the Goals, Motivation, Conflict resolution that brings about the only ending there could possibly be for those characters. Into The Woods is bittersweet at the end, because it does not end happily for all, but happiness is in their future and that in itself is more satisfying than the original story endings would have been. And as a writer, I can take inspiration from this to bring to my writing and make sure I am being as true to my stories and characters as possible because I am thinking about consequences and taking the story (in my head at least) beyond the HEA/HFN and thinking about the possibility of the HNA.

Romance Writers of Australia